VA Growler staff
It’s the yeast they can do
A new brewery is hyper-focusing on local ingredients, creating wild, funky, sour and tart beers made in large part with native yeast and microbiota harvested from Richmond.
Tabol Brewing co-owner Nic Caudle will harvest many of the micro-organisms used for brewing and buy some yeast and bacteria. He says he harvested his first batch of yeast as a homebrewer on a whim and liked the results.
“There’s a whole gamut of flavors you can play with that aren’t necessarily available commercially,” he says.
Caudle and co-owner Travis Dise are also using aged hops – a common practice with Belgian styles such as lambic and gueuze because they minimize hop aroma and flavor while still providing a preservative effect – as well as fresh local fruits, which come with their own set of microbiota.
Sours and other wild, funky beers have certainly gained popularity recently, but not many Virginia breweries have made them the central focus. Fresh local fruits like raspberries and blackberries from Agriberry Farm in Hanover County will make their way into some beers. The menu will be sour-heavy, but the owners don’t intend to use the popular method of kettle souring, which is quick and results in bright, tart beers like gose and Berliner weisse.
“The wild stuff’s just more fun,” Dise says. “There’s so much more variance. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.”